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Monday, May 16, 2022

Palace of Knossos

 The Minoan civilization flourished from about 3000 BCE to around 1500 BCE, eventually falling under the rule of late Bronze Age Mycenaean Greece. The first palace of Knossos was constructed around 2000 BCE. It was later destroyed in an earthquake around 1720 BCE. The rebuilt palace is what remains today—a complex of frescoed rooms, magnificent columns, and zig-zagging stairs. The palace served as the administrative and ceremonial headquarters of the Minoan realms.

The palace was built to handle a large population. Basement storage allowed for hoarding wheat, oil, and treasure. Artisans worked in quarters nearby to meet the needs of the residents. Drains, pipes, and paved roads brought the convenience of fresh water and easy travel to the rest of Crete. The Minoans also had a writing system (which developed from a hieroglyphic script to one known as Linear A) and inscriptions can be found across Minoan culture.

Minoan Bronze Age Throne Room at Knossos

The throne room at Knossos, featuring frescoed walls. (Photo: Stock Photos from ANTON CHYGAREV/Shutterstock)

As a royal seat, the palace at Knossos had a magnificent throne room—thought to be the oldest intact throne room in Europe. 

The king sat in a gypsum stone throne which is still on view today at the site. The room also includes a stone bowl which may have been used in religious rituals. The frescos along the walls of the room depict griffins. Although the throne room may have been used by a ruler, it also may have been purely ceremonial with the throne reserved for the presence of a god or goddess.

The 1,300-room palace boasts many other frescos and painted columns; many of them have been restored in recent decades. A famous dolphin fresco is evidence of the importance of marine life to the coastal palace. Another fresco depicts a scene thought to be purposeful “bull leaping.” Acrobats would literally leap bulls—defying danger—in what may have been part of religious rituals centered around the bovines.

Fresco Palace Dolphin Wall by Minoans

The famous dolphin fresco. (Photo: Stock Photos from GEORGIOS TSICHLIS/Shutterstock)

The story with the Minotaur is actually a huge symbolism of Minoan history.

The Minotaur represents the Minoans and the Greek prince Theseus obviously the Greeks who tricked the Minoans (in the story it's Ariadne).

The killing of the Minotaur means the end of Minoan culture and wealth since it were the Greek who occupied Crete and destroyed temples like Knossos.

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